A day in the life of: A Symphonic Band Musician

This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016. 

by Pan Jia Qi (16A01D), Secretary
Photos by Priyadarshini (16A03A), Student Conductor

1. A Tempo XXIV

The Raffles Symphonic Band at the 24th edition of our annual concert series, A Tempo.

Being in a world so filled with wondrous sound and music, have you ever wondered what’s it like to be behind the notes and the tunes? Well, fret no more, as we’re going to take you through a day in the life of a RSB musician. Being able to create music is one of the most amazing pleasures that we indulge in, whether it is during sectionals, where sections work on their pieces together, or during combined, where we all come together to form the melodies and harmonies of music.

Sometimes, our conductor will provide a new piece for us to sight-read. The thrill of reading a piece for the first time charges our spirit for perfection, as we try our hardest to hit the notes correctly. These are usually the times when you might feel rather weak or unskilled, these are also the times where you would gain the motivation to improve and better yourself to be able to accomplish what you couldn’t during sight-reading. Other times, we work on the pieces in our repertoire. Although less exhilarating, the sense of accomplishment upon perfecting a piece is extremely rewarding. These are the times you would feel extremely proud of yourself, that the hours of practice that you’ve put into that single few bars have paid off. As practice goes on and the piece comes together, you can start to hear the intricacies of music. Perhaps it was the rhythmic ostinatos that you had never notice but could now hear how it drives the music on; or how a certain interval in the melody that you have never cared much for suddenly creates a beautiful release; or how a chord fully resonates, giving the melodic foreground a vibrant background; etcetera. When practice comes to an end, you would discover that you’ve unlocked all the secrets and treasures hiding in a single 6-minute piece. Isn’t music simply wonderful?

2. RSB Goes International

RSB goes international! RSB travelled to Tokyo, Japan, having the opportunity to attend a band exchange with Bunri High School and attend masterclasses at the Kunitachi College of Music.

3. The End-Result

The end-result: a joint performance by Bunri High School and RSB at a Tokyo Jazz Festival!

Of course, wonderful music cannot be made unless there’s a wonderful bunch of musicians making it! Our community of musicians, albeit small, has a large passion for music and the art of music making. We take pride and joy in playing our instruments and strive to improve our sound every way we can. We like to come down on non-practice days to practice, or stay till late hours to practice (often resulting in some speed-packing and sprinting towards the sidegate in an attempt to exit before they autolock).

4. Our Resident Sax Man

Our Resident Sax Man is a master at the abovementioned

If our instruments are light or if our neighbours don’t mind (or we simply just don’t care), we occasionally bring our instruments home to practice, where we can blast to our heart’s delight (and to our neighbours’ demise).

Next to music-making, chilling together is another one of our favourite hobbies. In our storeroom, a well-protected, well-ventilated Cozy Corner awaits for the tired RSB member to nap in before practice, or just for us to chill.

5. The Boys

The boys prefer this form of chilling.

And if the space isn’t enough, we can always count on the trusty main band room to host our many recreational activities.

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After tiring practices, we go for dinner together to relax and hang out, after which the bridge community within our batch often takes over.

8. Typical Dinners

Typical dinners.

And of course, when the stress of JC life starts to accumulate, we relieve our stress by going to a concert together to just have a fun time and listen to good music. Our conductor, the humourous Mr Lim Yean Hwee, also livens up practices with his continuous stream of jokes (“Are you doing family planning for your tuba?”, upon seeing our batchmate attempt to play a tuba that had bubble wrap stretched across it) or share a funny anecdote (“Ah yes. You remind me of this small small cute cute RIMB clarinet boy who tried to stand up and play his solo but missed his mouth trying to put his clarinet in”) to lighten up the band’s mood…and to warm up the 16*C room (the way he prefers it), although to no avail. Just as how we have fun and enjoy ourselves, perhaps music, in essence, is about enjoying the process of music-making itself.

9. Mr Lim

Aside from his witty jokes, Mr Lim is also always prepared for a photo.

“Without music, Life would be a mistake.” Just as how life cannot be without music, music cannot be without life, without emotions and enjoyment. Through the process of music-making, we have all touched and enriched music in our own way. In a way, we have painted our lives with our music, now it’s your turn to draw your melodies onto your day in the life of a RSB musician.

To follow us on our daily adventures, do give us a visit on instagram.com/rsb2k16!

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